Continental, Atlantic City NJ

Sometimes, all you need is a good Date Night!

While my boyfriend Dave and I love being with my entire family at the shore in the summer, sometimes it gets to be a little much!  Dave had spent the week at the shore at Adam’s house, so I hadn’t really seen him much either.  He was so sweet and asked me out on a date night!  

After an hour on Yelp, we couldn’t decide where to go.  We ended up waiting so long that most places had a huge wait.  We ended up picking one of the most dependable restaurants we know:  Continental.

Continental is one of Stephen Starr’s restaurants, and also happens to be the first one ever!  Stephen Starr restaurants are pretty much all fabulous.  Maybe a little overpriced, but you can always count on interesting, fresh, and really really delicious food.  His restaurants are all themed and beautifully decorated too, which makes for a great atmosphere.  He’s got Sushi, Asian, French, British, Steakhouse, Burgers, Italian, Mexican, and a ton more.

“Global Tapas” is the theme for Continental which also has some pretty fabulous cocktails.  One of my favorites is the “Twizzle”:  Smirnoff Citrus, Strawberry Puree, Lemon, and garnished with a red licorice wheel.  It’s adorable.  On this particular night, I decided to change it up and order the “Champagne-O-Rama”: Smirnoff Raspberry and sparkling wine with a grenadine-sugar rimmed glass.  It was REALLY strong, maybe even too strong!

Loved the rim!

Dave and I were actually not that hungry but we ordered some great stuff!

French Onion Soup Dumplings: gruyere cheese

These are awesome!  You have to be careful when you go to eat them though, they are HOT.  We popped the dumplings out of their little holes and let them cool first.  It tastes exactly like french onion soup.

French Onion Soup Dumplings baked in its’ very own crock!

MMMMM!

Jumbo Lump Crab Pad Thai: rice noodles, tofu, egg, scallions and peanuts

While I still think that the best Pad Thai is at Silk Cuisine, my favorite Thai restaurant… Continental’s Pad Thai is pretty high up there on the list.  First of all, it was huge.  The sauce was really good, not too salty, not too sweet.  The entire thing was covered with crab meat.

Pad Thai

Crispy Calamari Salad: chopped greens, carrots, tomatoes, sprouts and soy-sesame dressing

I absolutely positively cannot go to Continental without ordering the Calamari Salad.  It is actually on my own personal “Best Thing I Ever Ate” list… as well as Anne Burrell’s!  She picked this salad as her favorite thing in the “…to eat with Chopsticks” episode.  It is freakin’ amazing.  The calamari is only lightly coated and is perfectly seasoned.  The dressing… wow… it’s a little tangy but very light, and is the perfect compliment to the salty calamari.  WOW.

Check out alllllll the good stuff in this salad. WOW

Although this was all we ordered this time around, I of course have to recommend a few other items for you:

Szechuan Shoestring Fries: drizzled with Chinese mustard sauce

Orange-Chile Glazed Calamari: papaya salsa

Chilean Sea Bass: miso glaze, Chinese broccoli and sweet potato mash

Cheesesteak Eggroll: crispy onions and sriracha ketchup

Amazing Sea Bass.  Also, voted one of the top French Fries in Philly!

Yama, Ventnor City NJ

Back in JUNE for my birthday, we had dinner at Yama, a Sushi Restaurant in Ventnor City, NJ (next to Atlantic City, where we stay “down the shore“).

While Yama is certainly not my favorite sushi place ever, it is pretty decent, especially for the shore.  I thought all of the sushi was really tasty and fresh.  My only complaints were that it was a little on the expensive side (I mean, for sushi, that’s like $1 or $2 more per roll… but it adds up), and the service was god awful.

The highlight of Yama, besides their amazing Tuna-Avocado Roll?  It’s BYO!  The boys bought some Sake and had a lot of fun!!

We were really excited about the BYO!

SAKE BOMB! I was too chicken to try it…

Pat (Patrice) and Regan getting ready for their Sake Bombs!

WOW, I always like to order a special roll and this one was really tasty. I love the avocado ontop!

Matt trying sushi for the FIRST TIME EVER! … he didn’t like it.

A nice assortment! Like I mentioned, amazing Tuna-Avocado roll! Look how fresh that tuna is 🙂

Village Whiskey

I have totally been avoiding this post.  Every time I look at these pictures, I don’t know if I want to Alex Mack into my phone and transport to Village Whiskey or if I want to go run 8 miles knowing that I ate all of it.

My family and our family friends went to Village Whiskey back for Memorial Day Weekend.  Yes, it was that long ago.  While this was probably one of the most fun dinners ever, it also happened to be one of the best.  I love this place, and I’m not surprised; Village Whiskey is one of Iron Chef Jose Garces’ signature restaurants.  He is the best.  If you didn’t have a chance to read about my trip with Allie to Amada for Restaurant Week this spring, check it out now and you’ll want to try a Garces Restaurant too!

Dave and I before heading over

We had so much fun!!!!!!!!

Just us girls, myself, Becky, and Mellie (my sister!)

We actually went to the Village Whiskey at the new casino in AC, Revel.  We started off with some Margarita’s from another Garces place, Distrito.  Making our way through the new casino we tried drinks at a few other bars then finally at Village Whiskey- the Philly Fish House Punch for the girls: Myer’s Dark Rum, Peach Brandy, Cognac, Tea, Lemon and Spiced Sugar.

check out that milkshake… whatttttttttttttt!

My Dad being my Dad ordered a S’More Milkshake, and OMG was it the most ridiculous thing ever (well, wait until we get to my burger).  It was the thickest, creamiest, sweetest milkshake I’ve ever tasted.  The flavor of S’Mores was dead-on, down to the burnt-marshmallow taste.  WOW!

Next up were our appetizers.  We ordered a few items from the “Pickle” Menu and some Oysters too.  The Pickles are served with Black Olive Tapenade, Whipped Ricotta and Toasted Sourdough.  The three we ordered included the Herb Cherry Tomatoes, the Golden Beets & Jicama, and my favorite, the Baby Carrots, Jalapeno, & Strawberries.  It is worth going to Village Whiskey, even if you’re only going to order “pickles”.  They were all fantastic.  They also come in mason jars which are adorable.  Whoops, forgot to mention, we tried the House-Made Cheese Puffs too.  Holy hell.  (adding 20 more minutes to tonight’s workout)

Oooooey Gooooooey Cheese Puffs

The picture on the left is my plate including a little bit of each of the pickles.

If you think this wasn’t enough food already, watch out.  Here come the DUCK FAT FRIES.  Yup.  Duck. Fat. Fries.  Well, shit.  They were f***ing fantastic.  The Sly Fox Cheddar Sauce rivals the signature Chickies and Pete’s melted American.  I swear.  These fries are BOMB!

Uhhhh omg! Check out these fries. WOW

Almost everyone ordered a burger, and although at this point I could have called it a night, I was so drunk and excited for mine… that I ate the ENTIRE THING.  Bahhhhh!  Dave created his own with Long Hots and Bacon… Josh tried the Veggie Burger…  while I went for the mammoth Whiskey King (Maple Bourbon Glazed Cipollini, Rogue Bleu Cheese, Applewood Bacon, Foie Gras… and oh… I added a fried egg?!?! WTF?!?!)  I don’t even know, the entire burger was a rich and creamy blur… every bite was more unbelievable than the next.  I’m telling you, this is by FAR THE BEST BURGER I’VE EVER EATEN.  I’m pretty sure there is no way I could have calculated this one into Weight Watchers Points.  Whoops!

Josh’s Veggie burger, how pretty is that?

Dave’s Burger

uhhhhhhhhhh my Mammoth burger. WHOA!!!!

Post-popping the egg…. wowwww

Damn.  Now I’m hungry!  Village Whiskey @ Revel rocked and I cannot wait to go back to the one in Philly… that is if I ever can afford the calories again!!!!!!!!

O Bistro @ Revel Casino … my first Yelp Review

For anyone who’s ever read about any of my encounters at restaurants… you will know that I am VERY easy to please.  I don’t think I’ve ever written more than one negative comment about a restaurant since I started blogging.  I am very kind and patient with servers, and always tip 20%.

With all of this being said… you need to hear about my experience at The O Bistro Dining Room at the brand new casino in Atlantic City, The Revel.

I was expecting good things, as the casino is geared towards the higher-end, fancy, weathier guests of AC… boasting a total of 14 new restaurants from Top Chefs and James Beard winners.  I was wrong!  This restaurant was the absolute WORST dining experience I’ve EVER had.  It even prompted me to write my very first review on Yelp.  Take a look!

Before I start, let me tell you that this is the FIRST review I’ve ever written on Yelp.  

The breakfast turned brunch that my friends and I had at O Bistro Dining Room in the Revel Casino was the absolute WORST I’ve ever experienced.  

After waiting for 30-40 minutes to be seated, it took our server almost ten minutes to come to our table.  We had already been served water but ordered coffee and let the server know we were ready to order.  He responded “okay, I’ll take your order now”… and walked away.  

He did not come back for another ten minutes.  We placed our orders, most of us making our own omelets.  We were never asked what type of toast we’d like (as described on the menu white, wheat, rye or english muffin).  We also had to ask several times for more coffee.  

The server came back after maybe 15 more minutes to let someone know they were out of english muffins.  Okay.  We waited and waited, and watched the 2nd table of our group get served their meals.  We politely asked our server about the status of our food, which he replied “I’m hungry too…”

About 10 minutes later, a runner and our server came out with plates of food.  They stood there at our table, holding the plates, staring at us.  They did not know what omelets were filled with what.  They just stood there staring at us.  We grabbed the plates after uncomfortably sitting there, and figured it out ourselves after cutting them open. 

Three of the omelets were COATED in butter.  The entire bottom of my plate was covered in yellow grease, and after trying to move my egg around it… I took one bite of the eggs and all I could taste was the butter.  Gross.  Even after asking for rye toast (again, on my own not being asked to) we only received a huge plate of wheat toast.  We did receive two English muffins?  

My friend told the server we’d like to speak to the manager, after he stared at us blankly when we complained to him.  The manager couldn’t have been less sympathetic.  She did not apologize once.  She did not take any responsibility.  My friend asked for her eggs to be remade, and the rest of us didn’t feel like eating at that point.  

The entire ordeal took over 80 minutes.  Not to mention that the server and manager were talking about us just a few feet away, laughing and pointing.  Nice.   Two egg dishes were removed from the check but they did have the guts to charge us an extra $3 for the English Muffin… that was an option on the menu?!  Really?!

I would NEVER go back here and recommend anyone to stay away.  I’d rather pay $40 for the fancy brunch at One Steakhouse downstairs.  Not what I’d expect from ANY restaurant, let alone the main breakfast dining room at the fanciest, high-end, brand spankin’ new casino in AC.  This was the absolute worst service I’ve ever experienced in my life.

“Down the Shore” Week 1

So it’s Friday of Memorial Day Weekend and I’m stuck in traffic on the way “down the shore” (what all good Philadelphian’s call the Jersey Shore).  Every year I forget that I promise never to drive down this Friday!

Despite being stuck in traffic for over an hour, Dave and I finally made it down for our first official weekend at the shore this Summer.

Some “shore” geography:

Point A:  Seaside Heights.  Jersey Shore crew.  NOT my Jersey Shore.  Definitely Not.

Point B:  Ventnor City, NJ… my beach.  We are the beach sandwiched in between Atlantic City to the North, and Margate to the South.

We are about a half hour North of Ocean City, famous for their “family-fun” boardwalk of rides, hermit crabs, mini-golf, and fried food.

My grandparents have owned their Ventnor beach house 3 blocks away from the beach since before I was born.  I grew up vacationing here in Ventnor, and remember even writing a short story or poem in middle school about how the porch swing at the house is my “happy place”… it still is!

This long Memorial Day Weekend at the house was the best!  We had the most beautiful weather I can remember for MDW.  We spent all 3 days- Sat, Sun, & Mon on the beach.

Beautiful beach day!

My cousin Aidan getting ready for the beach

Besides my family & my Aunt Lyn’s family, we spent our time with one of our closest family friends (“Aunt” Cindy, “Uncle” Sammy, Becky, and Josh).  We had such a great time.

Dani and I are silly 🙂

Friday night, Dave and I went to a small little dive bar in Ventnor.  This is about as close to a dive bar as you’ll get in this town, but I love it!  The restaurant is really small, the menu is really small, but the drinks are delish and we can walk home if we wanted!  We devoured a bowl of mussels in red and a fresh made bloody mary.  MMM…

fresh blood(ies) !

Saturday, Dave and I took a 5-mile run on the Boardwalk, reaching the first casino of Atlantic City.  Although I made us stop a few times to walk a block or two, we did really well!  It isn’t easy for me but I’m trying to teach myself how to run.

Later on, we watched the Phillies game and had some drinks at our friends’ house.  We ordered a BBQ feast from the Back Bay BBQ on the way to Somers Point (south of us… if you’re still paying attention to your Geography lesson).  Before I tell you about how delicious it all was, which it was of course… I have to tell you that all FIVE Chicken halves that we ordered were NOT COOKED.  EW!  I’m so glad we checked instead of just digging in.  We had to cook them in the oven for at least 20 minutes longer… they were really not finished!

Once they were cooked though, the chickens were my favorite part of our meal.  They were seasoned really well and the BBQ sauce on the side was so tasty.  We think there is cinnamon somewhere in the sauce, which added to the unique flavor.

Sunday night we made the trek to the end of the Atlantic City boardwalk to the new casino, Revel.  It’s really a must-see.  It’s beautiful.  We had Margarita’s at Distrito & ate an unbelievable dinner at Village Whiskey (both Jose Garces’ places!).  More on that later.  Trust me, you’ll want the juicy details.  

Mom & Mel sipping on Distrito Margaritas

Becky & Josh excited to be at Revel. Yes, there was a DJ in the lobby.

Fishy faces @ Village Whiskey

Mel (my sister), Becky, and I at Village Whiskey

Foggy night driving home from AC

Monday was a more relaxing day, with a long walk on the beach.  We tried a new hoagie place, took a nap, and drove home at 10pm to avoid traffic.  Great move.  

My little cousin Dani loves her Ice Cream Sandwich from John the Ice Cream Man!

Keep your eyes open for the Village Whiskey post – you won’t be sorry! (or if you’re like me, maybe you will because that will mean you’re going to have to go gain 5lbs next weekend and go yourself. )

Tomatoe’s in Margate, NJ

Just a few weekends ago, my Mom and my friend Genna and her Mom- Penny, went “down the shore” for a weekend away.  The best thing about going to theJerseyShorein the off season (besides being able to take Stella to the beach) is that you can get “in” at any restaurant you normally can’t during the summer season.

Tomatoe’s in Margate, NJ is the hot spot we chose this time around.  Tomatoe’s is a hoppin’ bar and “Exquisite California Cuisine” restaurant, which also happens to have the best sushi in town.

the restaurant was so pretty and huge

We were first served warm, crusty bread with a side of olive oil dipping sauce complete with whole hunks of roasted garlic.

Check out all of that roasted garlic... mmm!

Most of us ordered the salad special for the night, and it was amazing.  Set atop a heaping pile of spring mix was fig-balsamic dressing covered roasted butternut squash, apple slices, crispy bacon, and Manchego cheese.

Genna and Penny must have been cravin’ crab, because they split both the Crab Pasta (Spaghettini tossed with jumbo lump crab in a marinara sauce) and the Crab Cakes (Jumbo Lump, baked golden with a chipotle aioli sauce).  The crab pasta was loaded with huge pieces of crabmeat, it was very impressive!

This dish had so much crab meat you could hardly see the pasta...

Humongous crab cakes!

Mom and I had to take a chance on the sushi menu, since we had heard such good things in the past.  The sushi came out on a huge platter, and it was all so fresh and delicious.  We thought the menu had a bunch of different, very creative rolls.  We ordered:  a classic Yellowtail Roll, the Naruto Roll (Tuna, Salmon, Crab, wrapped in Cucumber), the Atlantic City Roll (Spicy California Roll topped with Shrimp), the Autumn Roll (Crab, Peppercorn Salmon, Avocado, topped w/ Spicy Tuna), and finally… the most interesting of them all, the Margate Roll (Salmon, Crab, Shrimp with Roasted Peppers, Mozzarella and Spicy Sauce… tempura-ed)!  The sushi was fantastic.  I’ll definitely try it again!

What a gorgeous spread of sushi.

A close peek at the Margate Roll

Dessert was spectacular.  OMG.  We ordered the Smores dessert, not really knowing what to expect.  The dessert came layered in a cocktail glass.  Starting with graham crackers, then peanut butter mousse, light chocolate ganache, vanilla ice cream, and topped with marshmallow fluff… lightly burned on top, just like crème brulee.  WOW.  This version of the campfire treat is for sure one of my favorite desserts, ever.

Layers of Smores making for the perfect dessert

Gooey melted marshmallow made it difficult to eat without getting a little messy... but it was so worth it!

We also spent the afternoon at the movies, seeing My Week With Marilyn.  I was blown away by this movie.  The story of Marilyn Monroe is so compelling, and Michelle Williams could not have played Marilyn any better.  Sometimes, I had to think about it to remember that it wasn’t Marilyn herself.  I highly recommend this one!